An annual or short-lived perennial herb of dry grassland and disturbed places on relatively infertile neutral or calcareous soils; often in sunny S.-facing pastures and on roadside banks, waste places and walls. Its has a long-lived seed bank. Generally lowland, but reaching 440 m at Nenthead (Cumberland).
The overall distribution of M. lupulina is stable. It declined during the 20th century in some areas of W. Scotland (Pearman & Preston, 2000) but some pre-1970 records in Scotland may result from confusion with Trifolium dubium.
Eurosiberian Temperate element, but widely naturalised so that distribution is now Circumpolar Temperate.
Height (cm): 50
Perennation - primary
Perennation - secondary
Life Form - primary
Life Form - secondary
Comment on Life Form
Clonality - primary
PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
Atlas text references
Comparative Plant Ecology,
, London, (1988)
Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols,
, Königstein, (1986)
Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols,
, Jena, (1965)
The biology of Canadian weeds. 33. Medicago lupulina L,
, Canadian Journal of Plant Science, Volume 59, p.99-110, (1979)